Man oh man. If you have any kind of a heart, you have to be feeling for Foa Foa. It’s been a long time since a tribe has performed this poorly. You’d have to go all the way back to Survivor: Palau when Stephanie’s tribe was decimated week by week until she was the only person left in her tribe.

I have to stand up for all of the Survivors from this season. It was a very difficult shoot. The rain was constant and it took a real toll on everybody, crew included. It’s so easy to sit at home and say ”oh just get over it,” but it truly is an extremely difficult experience to undergo.

99.99% of the people who say they want to play Survivor, couldn’t handle Survivor. It is an ass-kicking, humility inducing, physically exhausting, and mentally taxing test of the human spirit. In spite of all the challenging comments I make about the Survivors, at the end of the day, I take my hat off to them for embarking on this adventure.

I really do believe that at times the contestants are happy to come to tribal simply to get warm. It’s so hard to send them back to camp especially when it’s pouring down rain and you know their fire has been extinguished by the rain and they’re probably going to have another very wet and cold night.


Ah, I’m so glad I didn’t have to sample any of the Survivor Smoothie’s. They were chunky, smelly, nasty concoctions. The guts of a sea slug? Come on. What kind of a sick mind thinks of this stuff? Oh that’s right, we do. My bad.

INSIGHT: The foods that we use for these types of challenges are not just randomly selected. We always have a local person advising us on the types of foods that locals eat on a regular basis. Once we have a list, we then cull it down to the most unusual and ”gross” foods to serve to the Survivors. As disgusting as the food may seem, we always take precautions to make sure the food is ”safe” and is served as it would be to locals. Then again when it’s sea slug guts, there’s really not much you can do other than serve it up.

PERSONAL INSIGHT: The only times I have tried foods in the past are the grubs from Survivor: Borneo, (the crunchy head was the toughest part to get down) the cows blood from Survivor: Kenya (it came straight from the cow into our glasses and tasted like tomato juice), and finally the baked tarantula (I can’t remember which season it was from) which was disgusting. Other than that I always find a way to be ”busy” when there is testing to be done.

Dave Ball and Eric did a good job of getting to Ashlee by making gagging sounds and taunting her about what she was drinking. Challenges like this one are a great example of mind over matter. There isn’t anything in those smoothies that you physically can’t get down your throat; it’s simply a choice where you put your energy and what thoughts you allow in your mind. If you spend all your energy focusing on how bad something is, you are only making it that much more difficult. Ashlee wasn’t able to block it out and she paid the price. The ultimate price.


Russell sent a huge signal to Shambo by sending her back over to Foa Foa, thus eliminating her from the reward feast. Three Galu members sat out of the Survivor Smoothie challenge and yet they all got to eat steak as reward. Shambo was one of the five who had to gut it out and she gets sent away again…? Being a leader is tough, but that move left a mark for sure and it also sent a big message to Foa Foa – Shambo is a free agent. If Shambo makes it to the merge, payback could be painful for Galu.

Russell is really starting to ”feel” the leadership role. The conversation with Russell and Dave Ball regarding making fire was about as annoying as it gets for me. Just step up and make the damn fire. Dave, quit being so passive aggressive. And Russell, when Dave offers to shake hands and make up, stick your damn hand out. Ah, but that is so easy to say when you’re not in the middle of the game of Survivor. Suffering through every minute of every hour of every day…for 39 days…if you’re lucky.

Did you see the rain during the immunity challenge? DUMPING. I love it.

PERSONAL INSIGHT: Nothing makes me happier than rain during a challenge. I am always hustling the crew when I see clouds coming. ”Let’s go, let’s step it up so we’re ready to shoot!” They usually remind me, ”Uh, we are ready to shoot Jeff. Been ready for an hour. You’re the one still fussing with your hair.” Okay that’s a lie, I don’t fuss with my hair, that’s part of the reason I wear a hat. I really do have the greatest job in the world. I throw on a shirt, shorts, a cap and some flip-flops and yell things like ”pick up your coconuts.” Who knew life could be this good? But I will say again here and now – the short sleeve shirts are gone after this season. It was an experiment that didn’t work. I look ridonkulous.

Liz is in trouble. Uh-oh. She challenged Russell. Wow, did you see him turn? He turned in a matter of three seconds. He is frightening. ”You’re walking on thin ice. Right now. Let me tell you. Thin ice. Period.” Whoa. That dude is scary. No wonder nobody votes him out. I wouldn’t. I don’t want him mad at me. Liz survived tonight because of the tremendous effort she gave at the Immunity Challenge. That is the only thing that will save her in the future. Big time effort. Russell has his sights set on taking her out and from what I’ve seen ‘ole Russell is not quick to forgive.


For those of you who respond to this blog, I’d love to hear from you regarding your two favorites to make it to the end and the two you’d least like to see win and why. I’m always curious whom the audience is pulling for. Is it the people who are standing out the most? The most likable? Are there any dark horses in the running? Does anybody want Evil Russell to make it to the end?


The most interesting thing about Tribal Council was the two very different reactions that Russell and Natalie had after voting out Ashlee. Russell was his typical joyful self but Natalie appeared truly sad to have voted out her friend.

It’s interesting because as the game continues, those little nuances begin to play a much larger role in the game. Russell had just said he trusted Ashlee and more importantly he sat there as Ashlee said she trusted him. Then he voted for her, they all did. As the votes were read, Russell was almost laughing he was so happy. That sends a signal to the others that ”trust” is a loose word with Russell. I think it’s one of his most glaring giveaways. He can’t control his reactions and sooner or later I think it is going to catch up to him.


INSIGHT: Way back in 2000 at the end of our first episode of the first season, we were getting ready to record the very first ”Next time on…Survivor.” We were in the voice-over booth and we had a bit of a showdown as I was insistent that we leave enough time in the show for a dramatic pause between ”next time on… ” and ”Survivor.” It was one second. One silly second. But when you put a network show together, every single second counts. I’m not exaggerating. You find yourself trimming one second here, two seconds there. So to ”waste” a second for a pause was not something that was normally done, especially for a seemingly meaningless line like ”next time on.” But from the beginning Mark and I always we wanted the show to look and sound different and this was one of the many, albeit small, ways we endeavored to stay true to that philosophy. To this day the pause still lives…


Next week’s episode features one of the scariest moments I’ve had in my entire run on Survivor. Check that – the scariest. I’m not trying to over hype. I’m just giving you a tease. I don’t want you to get your expectations so high that you’re let down, but I am going to be honest that for a few seconds during next week’s episode I was really worried we were in danger of losing a contestant… forever.

Check out the exclusive deleted scene below and then read Dalton Ross’ ‘Survivor’ Watch.